Wednesday, 17. 3. 2010

World book capital 2010

From 23 April 2010 to 23 April 2011, during the time between two World Book and Copyright Days, Ljubljana will hold UNESCO's World Book Capital title.

Ljubljana – World Book Capital 2010

The World Book Capital activities, conducted by the City of Ljubljana's Department of Culture, the project holder, have been underway since June 2008, when Ljubljana, competing against Guadalajara, Lisbon, Riga, Saint Petersburg, Vienna and Wellington, was selected as the city proposing the best World Book Capital programme and designated the World Book Capital 2010 title. It has been pointed out by the UNESCO Commission that Ljubljana was selected for the quality of its application as well as for its diverse and complete programme, widely and enthusiastically supported by all players involved in the book industry (publishers, bookstores and libraries) and oriented towards the promotion of books and reading.


Programme highlights

On 19 April 2010, Ljubljana's World Book Capital programme will be presented to the international public at the UNESCO palace in Paris. The event will be attended by the Mayor of Ljubljana, Mr. Zoran Janković, the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Ms. Majda Širca, the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova, and numerous diplomatic representatives. The presentation of the programme will include a cultural programme performed by the Slovenian actor Branko Završan. It is particularly pleasing that the invitation to the event has been accepted by Mr. Slavoj Žižek, one of the three main creators of the Ljubljana – World Book Capital 2010 programme.

Ljubljana's inauguration as the World Book Capital 2010 will be marked by a ceremony held on 23 April at 12 noon in front of Ljubljana's Town Hall, where the World Book Capital flag will be hoisted by the Mayor of Ljubljana, Mr. Zoran Janković. On the evening of the same day, Ljubljana's Križanke summer theatre will host an artistic performance conceived by the Slovenian theatre director Matjaž Berger as a tribute to books, reading and scripts, and a meeting of art, science and philosophy as seen through the lens of book culture.

The inauguration ceremony will mark the beginning of a year during which about 300 events will be organized in order to:

  • encourage reading,
  • contribute to the development of the culture of reading,
  • increase the accessibility of books,
  • and present various literary genres and literatures of the world to the public.

The Ljubljana – World Book Capital 2010 programme will be divided into several strands, described below.

Ljubljana will host a literary festival entitled Literatures of the World's Continents: Fable 2010. The festival will thematically focus on the city. The city as a living environment, a mental map, and a place of freedom and limitations will also be the theme of a rich programme of events to accompany the festival.

During the festival, Ljubljana will be visited by the following world renowned authors:

  • Herta Müller (2-5 May 2010),
  • Richard Flanagan (25-29 May 2010),
  • Jonathan Franzen (7-10 May 2010), David Grossman (12-15 May 2010),
  • Michal Viewegh (16-19 May 2010),
  • Daniel Kehlman (20-23 May 2010).

During their visits, sceneries depicting each of their respective home cities will be set up on Ljubljana's Breg embankment.

A series of poetry evenings featuring poetry readings by visiting authors from China as well as a large number of other events will be held as part of a project entitled The International within the Local.

During the Literatures of the World's Continents festival, Ljubljana will also host countless other events promoting reading and literature. A detailed festival programme will be announced later.

Ljubljana Reads: Growing up with Books is a project intended for three-year olds, first-formers, and Slovenian secondary school students, who will each receive, as a gift, a picture book or a quality work of Slovenian literary fiction.

The printing of large impressions (8,000 copies) of 21 books of various genres to be available for purchase at €3.00 per copy has been supported as part of the Books for Everyone project.

The programme strand Books and Creativity in Culture will include a variety of different events related, in terms of content, to the main programme of events and books in a broad sense. The events will be organized and held by museums, galleries, theatres, musicians, and other artists.

The programme strand Books and the City will include literary events traditionally held in Slovenia, which will, as part of the Ljubljana – World Book Capital 2010 programme of events, be enriched and expanded in order to emphasize the significance of reading and encourage a reading culture by means of interventions in public spaces. Ljubljana will have several new reading nooks set up in public spaces, including a park maze designated for reading; books will be read in hospitals, old people's homes, and the asylum detention centre; support will be given to a project reflecting socially responsible approaches to vulnerable groups, namely the improvement of accessibility to the City Museum of Ljubljana's exhibition rooms and exhibits for the blind and partially sighted. A large number of projects will be intended for children. Particular attention will be paid to three of Slovenia's most prominent authors, namely Boris Pahor, Svetlana Makarovič and Slavoj Žižek.

From 31 March to 1 April 2010, Ljubljana will host a world congress entitled World Book Summit 2011 – Books as Promoters of Human Development. The congress will discuss the challenges of digitization for the publishing industry, the aspects of translation from the world's minor to major languages, and international bestsellers. It will be rounded off with the adoption of the Ljubljana Resolution on Books, which will outline the directions in which public administration could move in order to improve its efficiency in supporting books and reading.

A new bi-weekly cultural newspaper called Pogledi (Views) will be launched in April by Ljubljana's newspaper and publishing house Delo. The newspaper, focusing on culture, media, and intellectual life, will provide a platform for critical reflection on culture and society.

In the year of holding the World Book Capital title, Ljubljana will also gain a house of literature named after Primož Trubar (1508-1586), the author of the first book ever written in Slovenian and thus the founding father of Slovenian literary language. The house of literature will combine the functions of a cultural and intellectual centre, a book club, the home of a new web portal dedicated to books and literature, a gallery, and an information centre.

To mark Ljubljana's designation as UNESCO's World Book Capital, the Post of Slovenia will release a postcard-style postal card, the Bank of Slovenia a commemorative coin series including a gold, a silver and a bimetal collectors' coin, and the City of Ljubljana a commemorative bookplate.

The World Book Capital programme, supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovenian Book Agency, mainly consists of projects run by non-governmental organizations and public service enterprises involved in culture, science, and research. Part of the programme is being created in collaboration with other Slovenian cities and embassies in Ljubljana.

As of 15 April 2010, more information will be available on the website at

Welcome to Ljubljana – the World Book Capital 2010.